It’s been a year since my Husband screamed at me on that one last bike ride together about all the things he was angry with me about and ended with “I want a Divorce!“. Since then I have gone through a process that I have been through many times in the past, but no matter how many times you go through it, or how much you think you are prepared for that moment he realizes you are truly the disaster of a person you warned him about and leaves you, it’s still very difficult to go through. Just as a Widow (or Widower) mourns the death of their loved one, Divorce is very much the same. One day he is here, you are happy (or at least you think you are) and then the next he’s not and leaving. The next morning you are shunned from that person’s life as if the relationship you had never existed before. Your head is spinning with confusion as to what you did, or what he did, how he came to this point, what could you have done to save this from happening, and so on. That first day you begin planning, taking each minute of each progressive hour passing between thoughts of confusion, the marriage, the anger towards him from the hurt you are feeling, to thoughts of the logistics of what you need to do next. Perhaps you find a friend you can talk to that you trust to talk to about it, if not (I suggest) you find a professional to air your grievances to that can help you through the process. From one day to the next and then slowly one week passes, and days go from weeks, to eventually a month, and then several months.
Divorce is a process, and sadly a process I have gone through many times. I could give you my analysis of why I have been through it many times, and how to avoid it, but the end result keeps coming back to “Marriage is the #1 cause of Divorce.” – a meme shared on Facebook by a friend that reflects my philosophy that has stuck with me throughout the years. Don’t want to get a Divorce? Don’t get married. Get Married, then be prepared to get a Divorce. Yes, it is a simple fact that nearly 50% of all marriages in the United States end in Divorce which gives your marriage a 50/50 chance of survival. My parents and both Brothers being the better of the 50% as my Parents celebrated their 51st anniversary this year, and both Brothers have been married to their wives roughly 15-30 years – leaving me to be the odds of failure to offset their successes.
Because I have been through this process, not just the 3 Divorces, but from my second Husband leaving me on several occasions. Yes, we were one of those many couples that would break up, not talk to each other, connect somehow, become friends, then get involved and do it all over again. We did this for 4 years when the last time he wanted to live with me again I said “Not unless we are Divorced.” So we married 2 weeks after, and Divorced just 6 months after that. So, breaking up became a system of “Here’s what I need to do.” each and every time. Most of the time I kept a level head about me as I knew it was coming, and was able to quickly deal with the situation. Eventually I had my own place (not relying on him for money, a place to live, transportation, etc) so when he came and went, it was just a matter of him moving his clothes in and out of my place. This third marriage was different, but somewhat the same as emotionally the process is simple, yet much more difficult than the logistics of it all.
As mentioned on WomensDivorce.com – the following stages are the beginning of the “Grief and Sorrow” phase:
- Denial: “This is not happening to me. It’s all a misunderstanding. It’s just a midlife crisis. We can work it out.”
- Anger and resentment: “How can he [she] do this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? This is not fair!”
- Bargaining: “If you’ll stay, I’ll change” or “If I agree to do it [money, child-rearing, sex, whatever] your way, can we get back together?”
- Depression: “This is really happening, I can’t do anything about it, and I don’t think I can bear it.”
- Acceptance: “Okay, this is how it is, and I’d rather accept it and move on than wallow in the past.”
Believe you me, I went through each and every one of those stages for my last two Divorces. (My first I left, and for very good reason, so he went through these stages when I left him.) With this one, I even ended up driving from San Francisco, CA to Seattle, WA in one night as he called me upset about a relapse his Father had, only to show up on his doorstep in the morning to him even more angry at me for coming when he had specifically told me not to. The hope I had when he reached out to me as he had as his best friend in marriage led me to believe that there was still something there, and he would realize how much he still wanted me in his life. Especially at a time like that. Boy was I wrong, and it was a complete mess that made things even worse.
That moment led me to the acceptance phase. I spent the week with my parents after, and with the drive to Seattle, WA leading to my loss of the job I had just obtained (after a lay-off just 3 months prior), I made the decision to move back to Seattle. I drove back down to San Francisco taking the long way along the Washington, Oregon, and California coastline with my dog hitting every lookout and possible beach access we could. Listening to all the sad songs that made me cry (especially “Say Something” by A Great Big World), and rocking out to the ones that make me happy and want to dance – the emotional roller coaster that going through a Divorce sends you in all in an 18 hour road trip alone with the dog.
I packed up the few items I had with me in San Francisco (as my job there was supposed to be temporary and most of my stuff was in storage in Seattle, or still with my Husband), scheduled the movers, arranged a few power sessions with a psychotherapist (per my Husband’s recommendation), and planned a big going away bonfire on the beach in Santa Cruz with the friends I had made the two years I was there. My Husband began speaking to me a bit and helping me through the move (emotionally), which lightened the stress a bit. The evening the movers came was extremely stressful as the one guy was creepy, and they didn’t leave until 9pm in the evening. I tried sleeping on the floor in the empty apartment with the dog and cat, but the stress got the better of me so I decided to drive through the night to Seattle. Once again, my Husband was good about talking to me as I began the first leg of the drive, which made it easier to bear.
My arrival in Seattle, WA and the home I stayed in on Vashon Island was well received by my parents. Living in the cabin across the cul de sack road made it much easier to get through the Divorce than it had been in the past. My Husband and I would go days without speaking, then I would get a phone call from him, or he would finally take a call from me leading to some good talks, but mostly bad ones. I would quietly cry on my own, though at times I would walk across the street to my Mother and she would set me straight. The days had turned into weeks, and eventually a month, and then another. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got back onto life. I looked for work and found consulting gigs to keep me busy. I even developed an entire website that would help the community of the Island, and took on some website work for local businesses. As summer came to a close the decision was made for me to move out of the home and into my own apartment with a 7 month lease. My parents helped with the rent for the first few months, which allowed me to continue to look for work and consult. I was smack dab in the heart of downtown Kirkland just blocks from the water and within walking distance of many restaurants. My friend Jason lived on the other side of downtown, and we made a pact to meet every week and try a different restaurant each time. My friend Myron worked next door to my apartments and we met 1-2 times a week as well for lunch. I connected with old friends as I planned lunches, drinks, and dinners, and kept my social calendar busy. As both of my kids were living with their Father I became the weekend parent. They enjoyed the apartment and Kirkland just as much as I did when they visited keeping us busy together. I was on my way to moving on, and was truly very happy.
Over the Holidays I had a set back as I discovered why you don’t stop taking your anxiety medication abruptly. There are details to it I am not ready to divulge, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I resolved it quickly by going back on the medication and slowly weaned myself off of it.
After New Years I decided that while the movers had lost more than half of the things I had in CA it was a good sign to downsize to just the necessities. I absolved to the fact that after 20+ years of not owning a horse (only riding when I could find someone to allow me to ride their horse, or the occasional lesson) that it was time to get rid of my two English saddles and just keep my Western one. I joined a few Facebook Groups as a friend suggested and posted the saddles for sale. I received a few interests, and even arranged to meet one woman that wanted to look at it, but fell through. Then one day I saw a cute young filly that was in need of a new person. She was listed for a few hundred as the owner had disappeared and the boarding facility just wanted back board for her. I took my Daughter to see her with me, and we fell in love immediately. The horse was kept just 45 minutes from where I lived, and 20 minutes from the kids. Not to mention that the board to keep her was less than what I spend each month on coffee (including feed). So, I bought her for the past board that was owed and the upcoming month. I have been working on her tying up (she freaked out every time she came close to the pole), and began to break her to ride (she hadn’t been ridden before). The kids and I spent our every moment with her every day we could.
Since then I have bought myself an off the track Thoroughbred by the name of Henry, my Daughter rode the little mare for a while before she got an attitude (my Daughter, not the horse), and my Son was given an old Quarter Horse that was retired as the two became good buddies. My time spent dwelling on the Divorce was eventually consumed with thoughts of horses and my consulting work. I have a full blown consulting company now that is growing more successful each month. I have moved closer to the horses, which brings me close to my children and allows me to be more involved with them. My Daughter managed to graduate from High School with very good grades, and my Son rides with me several days a week.
I no longer think about my marriage, and am not even in the mood when a man asks me out on a date out of fear of getting attached only to be discarded once again. I still go to dinner once a week (or so) with Jason, and have the company of my roommate that fills the void of feeling lonely. I now sleep in the middle of the bed, and don’t feel weird when my leg strays to the other side. I haven’t spoken to my now X-Husband in months, and have changed my phone number, my address, and blocked him from all social media, email, messaging, etc. I embrace the little things in life and enjoy moments of bliss now that I don’t have my Husband around making me feel guilty for whatever he decided was a problem, or spending money on someone that didn’t appreciate it. The Divorce is final, and it has now been a full year since that day I fell off the bike crying from my heart being broken. As I look back on it I simply pass it off as a process I needed to go through. I have friends going through Divorces now and know how they feel. I also know they too will eventually sleep in the middle of the bed. I tell them it gets easier. That it’s okay to grieve, to be angry, to go back and forth from happy to sad and anger with your spouse. Time truly does heal all wounds, and life is worth enjoying to the fullest.